Don’t Let COVID-19 Disrupt Your Child’s Vaccinations

Medically reviewed by
Dr. Weave Whitehead
McLeod Pediatric Associates of Florence — West

While Coronavirus (COVID-19) has kept us locked up at home, health officials are voicing concern about another problem: the dramatic drop in baby and childhood vaccinations.

“The CDC reported that childhood vaccinations plunged since COVID-19 spread across the country,” says McLeod Pediatrician Dr. Weave Whitehead. “In Washington State, one of the earliest sites of COVID-19 in the country, vaccinations were down 42% in April. While we’re not close to a vaccine for Coronavirus, children whose normal vaccinations are not up to date face the possibility of catching measles, whooping cough and more, especially when social distancing is relaxed.”

The president of the American Academy of Pediatrics Dr. Sara Goza called the CDC findings “incredibly worrisome” and urged families to schedule visits to catch up on vaccinations.

The CDC recommends more than a dozen different vaccinations that protect against the causes of nearly 20 different diseases. For a guide to those vaccinations, click here.

For more information on childhood immunizations, click here.

Well-child visits should occur with a newborn, where the baby will be checked for weight, feeding and potential jaundice. Other well-child visits are important at 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 and 24 months. On these visits, the child will be examined for physical and brain growth, screened for lead levels in their blood, monitored for development against milestones and given their appropriate vaccinations.

For more information on Well-Child visits, click here.

Many McLeod pediatric offices have established precautions against Coronavirus to keep you safe while you keep your child’s vaccinations up to date. The precautions include:

  • Separating patient rooms by sick and well, assuring that when you come in for a well visit, no sick child has been in that room for weeks.
  • Seeing only well visits in the morning and early afternoon. Sick patients are seen later in the day.
  • No waiting rooms. Patients go directly from their car to the exam room. If a room is unavailable at the time of the patient’s arrival, the staff will call and ask the patient to wait in the car.
  • All staff members wear masks.
  • A staff member screens everyone at the front entrance.

To confirm the specific precautions your McLeod Pediatrician or Primary Care Physician is taking, you should call the office in advance.

Find a Pediatrician near you.

Sources include: McLeod Health, American Academy of Pediatrics, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United Nations Children’s Fund